It seems that this year, for the first time, his employer has decided not to shut down early on that day. I felt for him; but I also understood that, as a believer, he is trying to practice a Scriptural admonition by being subject to this employer.
But that raises a question. Are you, or is anyone you know, having to work all of Christmas Eve? Worse, are you, or is anyone you know, having to work on Christmas Day itself? I hope not. But if you are, take heart in that you are not alone. At least two other persons of significance have had to work on Christmas. The first is Ol’ Santa
Phillip Bump is a technology writer for The Atlantic who has written an article attempting to provide an answer, albeit tongue-in-cheek, to the all-important question pondered at some point by most every child: how exactly it is that Santa Claus is supposedly able to do all he has to do in just one night.* Suffice it to say that Ol' St. Nick is quite busy on that one particular night!
Bump first used CIA estimates to calculate the number of Christian children there are in the world, as well as the geographic distribution of those children all around the globe. To this he added the variable factors of all the time zones, the distance between houses, and even how many average children live in each house. He then shared his conclusions about Santa's annual Herculean task.
There are just over 526,000,000 Christian kids age 14 and under in the world who celebrate Christmas on December 25th. This computes to Santa having to deliver presents to approximately 22 million kids an hour, every single hour of the night before Christmas. In case you are wondering, that is a delivery to right at 365,000 kids a minute, or about 6,100 kids per second.
Bump concedes that there are a few qualifications: the date on which Christians celebrate Christmas varies from December 25th to January 6th; the data provided by the CIA is not always up-to-snuff; and, of course, not all Christians celebrate Christmas while some non-Christians do celebrate Christmas.
Nonetheless, pretty much any way you look at it, Ol’ Santa has a tremendous job to do! Let’s face it: he has to serve hundreds and hundreds of millions of children in one single night as he pulls a huge sleigh with nothing more than nine reindeer.
He has to do this while avoiding tens of thousands of airborne object, as well as being detected and shot down by the missile defense shields of numerous countries around the world. And remember, one of his reindeer is rather conspicuous in that he has a "very shiny nose"!
And yet, in spite of this, he somehow manages to get the job done - year in and year out. All I can say is, if I were him, I would go home and crawl in bed and then sleep for a whole week!
So, who is the second person who has had to work on Christmas? You already know the answer. I am talking about Jesus Himself. In the Gospel of John (chapter 6: verses 28-40), after having fed more than 5000 people with just five small loaves of barley and two little fish, Jesus had the following discussion with His followers.
28Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" 29Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." 30So they asked him, "What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
32Jesus said to them, "Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." 34"Sir," they said, "always give us this bread."
35Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day."
Notice verse 38. Here, Jesus tells us that He came down from Heaven to do the will of the Father. In other words, He “clocked in” as it were, on that first Christmas morning. And He worked non-stop for the next thirty three plus years, not “clocking out” once until His job was done on an old rugged cross!
Surely, bearing the sins of every one of the estimated 12-13 billion human beings who have ever existed is far more difficult than simply delivering a few hundred million presents! Yet, not one time until then did He ever slack off. He kept going until he could finally and faithfully say (John 19:30): “It is finished!” Thus do theologians speak of the "finished work of Jesus Christ".
In times past, as a child, I was quite pleased that Ol’ Santa worked every Christmas. Nowadays, as a Pastor, I am not all that happy about my Deacon friend having to work later than normal this Christmas Eve.
But I will tell you that I am quite ecstatic that Jesus Christ went to work on that very first Christmas. And that He worked faithfully for thirty two more Christmases, never tiring and never quitting until He had, once and for all, completed the work given to Him by the Father!